Miserable London, miserable people in the streets, miserable people at the station.
I’d departed from my recent policy of taking the coach whenever possible, as the advance train ticket-split I’d worked out was a reasonable deal when you take into account the timing of the journey and how long it would take. Twenty something on the coach, or £32.50 by train.
This meant I could travel at a civilised time, and avoid the worst of rush hour getting into London – and avoid as many of the miserable faces as possible. It was also a shorter walk to Kings Cross than to Victoria. It started raining as I headed along Cheapside, which gave an opportunity to try out the trekking umbrella I’d finally decided to actually take on a trip.
As I was using one of the “lesser” trains out of Kings Cross I found myself by Platform 9, which meant I was near the large queue for the Platform 9 3/4 shop thing. Simply getting this picture proved a whole lot of trouble, as I came into conflict with the muggles (station security) trying to keep the accessible lounge entrance clear – which is fair enough in itself, but the resulting argument lasted far longer and blocked the entrance much more than simply letting me take the picture.
The train journey itself was great, the changeover in Doncaster worked well, and I arrived in Hessle on time.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Hessle station itself is the start of the trail, but oh no. That’s a short walk away (in the wrong direction) at Hessle Haven, necessitating a bit of road walking. A sign pointed towards the estuary and we were in business. It was around this point that I lost my lens cap from my action camera – this is a tradition on any long walk: I did it on Glyndŵr’s Way and the South Downs Way. Come to think of it, maybe I just do this on National Trails.
The start of the path at Hessle Haven was along the shore, a grassy platform above the stones of the shrinking beach – high tide was due in a couple of hours.
A short way along and I found the start sculpture – a twin of the one at Filey Brig. A popular spot, owing to the ice cream van parked a few metres away. I gave in.
Then along to and under the Humber Bridge, once the longest single span suspension bridge in the world.
I stopped briefly on a bench a bit further on to check exact tide times as I was soon going to have to make a decision about taking the high or low tide route.
Just before that point was the work marking the site of the discovery of several bronze age boats.
I turned inland at the sign dividing the trail – high tide would be in an hour or so, and although I probably had time to get across the beach before being swept out into the North Sea, more pressing was the need to grab some water for camp in North Ferriby. And to make progress generally, due to the late start.
I duly popped into the Co-op in North Ferriby and emerged laden with water, a bottle of Rubicon and the second ice cream of the day.
Crossing the A63 was the point at which it felt the walk was really getting going. It was all very pleasant walking along the Humber, but it’s hardly the terrain I came for. A long strip of woodland followed, becoming the Melton Scout camp site, and providing the first of the acorn sculptures that serve as distance markers for the trail.
Across the road by a quarry, a bit more woodland and then I was in Welton. Another stop on a bench while I mulled over my end of day plan. Looking at the Hiiker app I saw accommodation marked At Brantingham, and on further investigation it seemed they took tents. It was just a directory entry though, not the place’s own website. Maybe some caution was needed and it would be best not to rely totally on that. I was glad I had water to camp wild if needed.
The road out of Welton became Welton Dale – one side cow pasture, the other inpenetrable wood. I stopped for dinner under a convenient tree on Turtle Hill, heating up the food I’d been cold soaking all day. Quite a few people passed me walking dogs or out for evening runs.
Back on feet and a few yards further on, around the next corner, and there was a bench. A missed opportunity.
It was now a fairly straight line to Brantingham, and as I walked I was simultaneously looking out for somewhere to camp and hoping this place in Brantingham would work out.
Emerging just south of the church, it was only a slight detour to find the driveway of the supposed B&B/campsite. It was pretty clear when I arrived at a pair of closed gates, with no signage or anything, that this place was no longer doing that.
Now after 8pm and only an hour or so until sundown. It felt sooner than that under the canopy of trees that accompanied my walk along the road out of Brantingham. I’d need to find somewhere soon. And my research hadn’t thrown much up. I climbed up through a wood and spotted an opportunity.
The pitch was awful – on very scrubby ground, some covered in brambles. And not very flat either. But I didn’t think I’d find anything if I continued. To make matters worse, as I pitched it started raining. Even worse I found I had my tent upside down which meant the inside was getting wet.
Finally, I retired into my shelter to enjoy the internal rain, and the attentions of the local slugs.
I was up and away for 7am, after a not great night, although some of that is just “first night in a tent” syndrome. But today was at least starting better than the previous day ended.
Naturally within 20 minutes of setting off, I found several much better places I could have stopped for the night – a fact I ruminated on as I sat having my breakfast on a bench just outside South Cave.
The detour into South Cave itself added at least a mile to the walk, but was essential as I was running low on water. The shop there also yielded some lunch. Unsure where I’d finish the day and whether I’d be able to get water, I erred on the side of caution and bought 4 litres.
Another nice spot just the other side of South Cave – the first of several oddly shaped benches. Coffee time. And time to book the next night’s accommodation at Fridaythorpe. That left me about 40km to do in a day and a bit.
Down into Comber Dale which became Weedley Dale and then Hunsley/East Dale.
The climb out of the north end of East Dale required a bit of effort, but I was rewarded with extensive views as I emerged into a barley field. A few fields later and I was at the top of Swin Dale – a good place to stop for lunch.
Five minutes into my stop, I got a call that meant I needed to go home, and I spent much of my lunch break working out how to do that. Logistically I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I fixed upon walking out to the nearest village and a taxi to Brough station. This also meant I could enjoy a bit more of Swin Dale on the way.
Sad to be leaving now I’d reached the good scenery, but I’d be back as soon as I could. I walked down into North Newbold and set about securing my escape…